As the Arab Spring protests reach Damascus, Syrian Christians look warily at a future without a time-tested autocrat to protect them from religious intolerance.
In Egypt, sectarian violence, an intermittent problem in the past, flared anew since the ousting of former President Hosni Mubarak in February. Twelve people were killed, hundreds injured and a church was torched last week in clashes between Copts and Muslims in Cairo. Christians and secular-leaning Muslims placed blame on Salafis, who advocate a return to the practices of Islam's earliest years.
An exhibition of Russian icons and photographs opened its doors in the Mexican city of Toluki on Thursday in an event that coincided with the 65th birthday of Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill.
Earlier, Metropolitan Antony of Mexico, Venezuela and the Caribbean, for his part, expressed hope that the exhibition will help Mexicans get a better understanding of Russian spiritual culture.
His Eminence Archbishop Mark of Yegorievsk consecrated on May 12, 2011 in Reykjavik the cornerstone of a future church of the Russian Orthodox Church. To the delight of all Orthodox christians, and among them also the members of the Serbian Orthodox Church, in the presence of the President of Iceland Mr. Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson and the delegation of the Russian Duma, led by vice president of the Parliament Mrs. Ljuba Konstantinova Slisk, the ten-year-long dream has come true - the beginning of the construction of the Orthodox church dedicated to St. Nicholas the Wonderworker.
On May 7-8 in Giza, two Coptic churches were set on fire by radical Muslims. Twelve people were killed and about 200 were injured. In this connection, Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, head of the Moscow Patriarchate's department for external church relations, made the following statement:
It is with deep sorrow that we in the Russian Orthodox Church took the report about the death of Egyptian Christians and setting fire to churches as a result of mass disorders on May 7 and 8, 2011, in Giza. We pray for the repose of the victims of this terrible tragedy and express condolences to their families and friends.
„In China, on Thailand and in Indonesia, for example, local artisans carve iconostasis and candleholders and decorate them with local elements. There is also a tradition to bless tea, while in Thailand the Orthodox people take off shoes before entering the church", said protopresbyter D. Pozdnayev. He emphasized that there exist local details and that they give parishes local colors. However, according to his words, the most important is the translation of the liturgical books and other religious manuscripts in a local language, what is necessary in order to orthodox tradition to begin to live in the context of the Asian cultures.